Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, newly released figures regarding Israel’s survivor population show that the number of those remaining has dropped off by 8,500 people in the course of one year.
The statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistic show that 220,800 people were eligible for survivor benefits at the end of 2016 in comparison with 212,300 survivors a year later, according to the data provided by the Holocaust Survivors Benefits Authority in the Finance Ministry.
The numbers will only drop off more steeply in coming years as survivors are increasingly dying off: Israel expects the number of survivors to plummet drastically to 167,000 by next tear, 102,000 by 2025, and to just 53,000 by 2030 who will all be over the age of 90.
Given that World War II ended 73 years ago, 73 is the minimum age of survivors, but the median age currently rests around 82 years old.
Naturally women outnumber the men at around 60% of the survivor population, since they outlive men, and that par will only continue to increase with the survivors’ age.
Israeli state agencies define as survivors anyone “exposed” to or who fled the Nazi regime, including those who lived in countries conquered by Nazi Germany or were under direct Nazi influence in 1933-1945.
That definition includes Jews who were subject to pogroms in their home countries, such as the 1941 Farhoud in Iraq as well as Nazi-controlled or Nazi-allied territories that enforced restrictions on daily life, such as in Morocco and Tunisia.
As a result, while the majority of Holocaust survivors residing in Israel today hail from Europe (though only a measly 2 percent from Germany), ⅓ of them come from Muslim countries.
Nearly 40 percent of the survivors came to Israel in the first three years after its founding, between 1948 and 1951.
Nearly 30 percent came in the following 38 years (1951-1989) before the falling of the Berlin wall.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust during World War II, many of them in gas chambers in Nazi death camps.
The United Nations in 2007 designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to mark the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps.
Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day separately.
Many survivors live below the poverty line, according to survivors’ groups.
A number of them have joined into calls against the deportation of African asylum seekers from Israel.
Last year Poland created a storm in Israel until agreeing to amend a controversial Holocaust bill that sought to protect Polish entities from indictments for participating or complicit in Nazi crimes.